ARLINGTON, Texas — Just in case they didn’t already know, the Dallas Cowboys got a reminder of the importance of getting touchdowns whenever they’re close.
The Cowboys were within 16 yards of the end zone on four drives against the Oakland Raiders on Thursday night, yet managed only three field goals. It came back to bite them when the Raiders got two touchdowns and a field goal in the final 4:58 for a 17-9 victory.
Dallas (1-1) had snaps from Oakland’s 16, 13, 9 and 10 without getting into the end zone. One of those drives was stopped on downs, and the others were settled by David Buehler making kicks of 42, 27 and 28 yards.
Oakland went ahead 10-9 with 2:24 left when first-string kicker Sebastian Janikowski nailed a 28-yard field goal. Swayze Waters had badly missed a 34-yarder at the start of the fourth quarter.
Raiders safety Jerome Boyd stretched the lead when he intercepted a deflected pass and returned it 48 yards for a touchdown with 33 seconds left.
Oakland’s new starting quarterback, Jason Campbell, never came close to scoring on his four drives. Then again, he was facing a defense that came out with regular-season intensity.
Linebackers Bradie James and Keith Brooking treated Campbell as if he was still with the rival Redskins. His first two drives went three-and-out. When his final series got rolling, the top nickel unit came back for a fourth-and-1 and Campbell’s pass sailed way over his target, tight end Zach Miller.
Campbell finished 7 of 13 for 49 yards. He converted only one third down out of six. He was sacked only once and didn’t have a turnover. He indoctrinated himself as a Raiders quarterback by throwing deep twice, once down each sideline; the first was broken up by a rookie free agent, the other was caught out of bounds.
Kyle Boller came in and was 12 of 21 for 148 yards.
Part of Dallas’ offensive woes trace to the line, which gave up four sacks in 20 snaps.
Romo was sacked three times on the opening drive, twice after getting to the 16. Jon Kitna got a series with the starting blockers and wound up getting sacked, too, nearly for a safety.
Romo finished 4 of 7 for 52 yards. Kitna was 8 of 11 for 96 yards.
At least Dallas didn’t lose another tight end. Already thin at that position, the Cowboys threw to star Jason Witten only once; he caught it, for 18 yards.
Dallas also can feel better about Buehler, the linebacker-sized kicker who specialized in kickoffs as a rookie last season. By making all three of his tries, he’s 6 of 7 this preseason. All four of his kickoffs turned into touchbacks, too.